KIMIHURURA - President Paul Kagame has told Rwandan women that they can achieve whatever they aspire to.
The President was speaking at the celebrations to mark the 15th anniversary of the Rwanda Women Parliamentary Forum (FFRP), yesterday, at the Parliament buildings.
“The sky is the limit,” Kagame said.
He added that for the women to excel further, they must have the will, which he said exists in abundance.The President advised the women to translate their majority in Parliament into positive outcomes.
Rwanda has the largest representation of women in parliament – 56 percent – anywhere in the world.
The Head of State urged the women to be strong pillars of the family since that is what will build a better future for the nation. He encouraged them to work hard to further improve the welfare of the Rwandan woman and families in general.
Kagame called on the Parliament and FFRP in particular, to safeguard the achievements registered and maintain the progress.
The President urged them to continue fighting all forms of abuse against children. He cited rape and under-age marriages, as some of the things that ruin a child’s life and future.
He noted that whoever spoils a child’s life is actually ruining a nation’s as well.
The Head of State pointed out that having a large number of women legislators is a big step the country has taken and the Rwandan people should be happy, given the country’s history.
President Kagame added that when celebrating such an anniversary, it is time to reflect, look at where we are and press forward with women advancement.
He noted that the progress of the Rwandan woman reflects the achievements of the country.
Kagame acknowledged the role of women in the unity and reconciliation of the Rwandan people, consolidating peace and security, as well as in justice.
There is no doubt, he said, t women in Rwanda know their rights and how to fight injustice.
The President went on to note that Rwandan women have lifted themselves out of poverty and became literate, adding that this would not have been feasible if there were no Rwandan women at the forefront, in various decision making positions, especially in Parliament.
Uganda's First Lady, Janet Museveni, was a special guest at the ceremony.
She challenged the audience that if they are to catch up with the developed world they have to move faster.
Mrs. Museveni said that women today have opportunities that they should not squander.
“We had a culture in Africa that did not allow women to speak formerly in public places, that did not allow women to play their God given role, for a long time,” she said. “We must remember that we have that opportunity once in a life time. And we must use it.”
The Ugandan First Lady added that they must work around the challenges.
“The challenge to us is that we must remain wives, we must remain mothers, we must remain sisters, and we must remember that to be politicians, we should not give up on who we are and what we are supposed to be,” she said.
Mrs. Museveni underscored that women should not think that in order to be equal, they must fight for men’s roles.
“We can be equal as we all play our God given roles,” she noted.
Mrs. Museveni went on to congratulate Rwandan women and the country.
“There is so much that you have done, in so a short time, that makes your country a proud nation.”
Uganda’s First Lady invited her Rwandan counterpart, Mrs Jeannette Kagame and members of FFRP, to her country to help teach their Ugandan counterparts how to conduct Umuganda.
Senator Marie Mukantabana, the FFRP chairperson, reiterated that despite challenges like poverty, Rwandan women have become role models for Africa and the world.
Mukantabana thanked President Kagame for supporting women empowerment.